When an auteur as gifted as Steven Soderbergh takes on the story of an equally gifted performance artist, some kind of magic is almost inevitable, and that's surely the case with the director's new film portrait of the late Spalding Gray, whose mysterious suicide in 2004 still reverberates with his fans. Soderbergh's not the first filmmaker to take on Gray's oeuvre (Jonathan Demme did it with Swimming to Cambodia, and Soderbergh himself directed Gray's Anatomy in 1996), but with And Everything Is Going Fine, which opens today at the Denver FilmCenter, he just might be the last.
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It's not a documentary, notes Denver Film Society programmer Keith Garcia of Soderbergh's latest.He's created a performance piece on a par with one of Spalding Gray's performances, using archival footage. He worked with Gray's widow, amassing stuff, and what happens is that it actually becomes a new, unpublished Spalding Gray piece. As a tribute to him, it's the perfect way anyone could have handled it. It's very loving and channels his voice throughout in a way that really speaks to the fans. It gives us the closure we didn't get when he died.
And Everything Is Going Fine runs through January 6 at the FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; admission is $7 to $9.75. For more information, go to www.denverfilm.org or call 303-595-FILM.
Dec. 31-Jan. 6, 2010